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China’s trillion-dollar sharp power play

It’s a new economic order. It’s rewriting the political map. More than 70 countries, a trillion dollars and virtually limitless ambition are bound up in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. But is this a benign economic plan or the rise of a new empire? And how will it affect us?

by Michael Bachelard

JUNE 18, 2018

The Chinese call it yi dai yi lu – one belt, one road – a revival of that nation’s mythological transcontinental land and sea silk roads. But behind the romance is a hard-nosed plan that’s staggeringly ambitious: a trillion dollars or more spent on hundreds of infrastructure projects co-funded and mostly built by China in 70 or more countries.

The Belt Road Initiative (BRI) is about railways, ports, roads, pipelines, power stations, industrial parks – and much more. It’s a trade bloc revolving around China. It’s rules and standards written by Chinese companies; economic cooperation zones, financial regulation, high-speed internet, direct investment. It’s about education, culture, health, aid, tourism, foreign relations and politics.

It’s being likened by some, including China, to the Marshall Plan, the US program for rebuilding Europe after World War II. But its financial scope and geographic ambition is much bigger. It’s a bid to anchor China’s economic and political place in the world by exerting a mix of hard, soft and steely “sharp” power.

About 70 countries have signed the memorandum to collaborate. A raft of other “second division” countries are sympathetic. They cover 4.4 billion people and about 40 per cent of global GDP. China expects its annual trade with countries along BRI routes to surpass $US2.5 trillion within the next decade.

Whether you think it's benign or not depends on your view of China's global intentions. Australia, for one, is wary.

It’s either a new network for peaceful cooperation or a bid for hegemony.

And, at its centre, is the Chinese Communist Party and its leader for life, Xi Jinping.he Silk Road Economic Belt, touted as a modern take on the 13th-century route chronicled by Marco Polo, offers new, more certain links across Eurasia to China’s relatively underdeveloped western provinces – offering faster ways to move goods than by sea. America may still rule the waves but China is seeking to rule Eurasia.

The Maritime Silk Road is a product of China buying or building a vast network of ports to secure the passage of goods through maritime chokepoints and in and out of new markets.

An Arctic Silk Road is also on the cards with China exploring new sea routes through the Arctic, avoiding many existing chokepoints, as global warming melts the ice.

Economic corridors are strategic lines of economic development across national borders that include transport infrastructure, trade zones, customs and border controls and connectivity.

www.watoday.com.au/world/asia/china-s-trillion-dollar-project-changing-the-world-20180618-p4zm4k.html

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Isaac soloman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jun 2018 at 9:25am

Australia will compete with China to save Pacific sovereignty, says Bishop

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The West Australian Published An Article by Chinese Consul-General in Perth Lei Kezhong Entitled" Strong China links good for WA
2018/06/07

On 7 June 2018, the West Australian published an article entitled " Strong China links good for WA" by  Consul-General Lei Kezhong. The full text is as follows:

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up. And Chinese President Xi Jinping declared at this year's Boao Forum for Asia 's annual conference 2018 that "China's door of opening up will not be closed, but will only open wider".

Mr Xi also announced a series of important new measures to expand opening up, promising to ease market access, improve the investment environment, enhance intellectual property rights protection, and take the initiative to expand imports.

China stands ready to work with other countries to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and to make economic globalization open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.

China is the biggest developing country in the world. Over the past half century, China's commitment to eradicating poverty has lifted 800 million people out of poverty. By the end of 2016, there were still 30.46 million rural people living below the poverty line in China, which is more than the total population of Australia. By 2020, China will achieve the goal of lifting all of its poor out of poverty and work with the whole country to become a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

At present, the Chinese people are making greater efforts to achieve the "China dream" of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The China dream is interconnected with the dreams of people all over the world.

The Chinese people and the people of all other countries should support and help each other to realize their respective dreams. China hopes to work with all the countries in the world to achieve common development and prosperity.

China has unswervingly followed the path of peaceful development, adhered to the foreign policy of maintaining world peace and promoting common development in a bid to promote the building of a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, equity and justice and win-win cooperation as well as the building of a community of common future for mankind.

China adheres to the principle of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs and will not impose its will on others. And China has always honored its words with deeds.

Since ancient times, the Chinese people have always been a peace-loving people, and the Chinese nation has always advocated the traditional culture of peace and a philosophy featured by "Harmony is the most precious", "harmony while different", "universal harmony" and "universal love, not offensive war ".

China invented before Europe the compass, cast iron technology and gunpowder, but we have not abused the advantages of these technologies for invasion and expansion.

Zheng He's voyages to the west were much bigger in scale than those of Columbus's to the American Continent.

A country with the world's most powerful fleet at that time had not taken the path of hegemony. China has a clean history and has never invaded any country.

On the contrary, China had been invaded and devastated by colonialism and imperialism for more than one hundred years. There is a famous saying by Confucius, the master of Chinese cultural thought, and a great ancient Chinese philosopher, that is, "do onto others what you want done onto you." China does not agree with the theory that a strong country is bound to be a hegemonic. There is no such a thing as hegemony and militarism in the Chinese bloodline.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Australia in 1972, bilateral relations have continuously transcended our differences in national conditions and social systems and achieved leapfrog development.

From gradual enhancement of political mutual trust and increasing expansion of common interests, to the establishment of the China-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement, the growth of our bilateral relations conforms to the mutual interests of our two sides and has brought tangible benefits to the two peoples.

China is not only Australia's biggest trading partner, but also the latter's "first partner" in the overseas tourist market and for international students.

Both the "mining boom" which helped Australian economy survive the global financial crisis, as well as the international education and tourism which drove the current economic transformation of Australia have all benefited from China's continuous strong economic growth and huge market. No wonder many analysts believe that the strong Chinese demand is one of the key factors in Australia's 26 year of consecutive growth.

However, since the second half of last year, some Australian media have repeatedly fabricated news stories about the so-called "Chinese influence and infiltration"in Australia, and some Australian politicians also made irresponsible remarks which are not conducive to the mutual political trust between the two countries, putting our bilateral relations in jeopardy.

I have also noticed that quite a lot of people from the Australian side have also expressed their different opinions on these matters.

It is my view that China and Australia, both located in the Asia-Pacific region , are highly complementary in economic advantages and deeply intertwined common interests.

Although the two countries differ in history, culture and social systems, there is no fundamental conflict of interest between our two countries.

A healthy and stable China-Australia relationship will better serve the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples.

I hope that the Australian media and people from all walks of life here can correctly understand China and China's development and view China-Australia relations in an objective and positive way.

China values its relations with Australia. However, there is a saying in China, "one slap won't make a sound", or "it takes two to tango".

It is our hope that Australia and China will meet each other halfway and do more to enhance mutual trust and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and treat each other as equals, so as to ensure that China-Australia relations will move forward on the right track.

WA is located in the same time zone with China and has always played a leading role in Australia's cooperation with China.

For many years, China has been Western Australia's biggest trading partner, export market and source of import.

In 2017, our bilateral trade volume stood at AUD 60.2 billion, up 3 per cent over the previous year, accounting for nearly 50 per cent of the total exports from WA, among which iron ore exports to China reached 666 million tons, accounting for 85.2 per cent of WA's iron ore exports.

Meanwhile, exchanges and cooperation between the two sides in agriculture, education, tourism and innovation have been further strengthened, and new growth points are emerging rapidly.

I am confident that the prospect of our mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Western Australia in all areas is very promising.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Isaac soloman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2018 at 10:56pm

One of the worst human rights abuses in recent times is occurring in China’s far-western region of Xinjiang. The Chinese Communist Party has rounded up possibly one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities in purpose-built concentration camps where they are subjected to mental and physical abuse without legal recourse.

Despite the scale and intensity of this crackdown, few know what is happening inside Xinjiang, and even fewer are willing to say anything about it. The Australian Government must acknowledge the failure of its closed-door “dialogue” with China on human rights, and join other free countries in publicly condemning this egregious abuse of power.

China unsurprisingly denies the existence of such camps, claiming “the various ethnic groups in Xinjiang have seen great progress in the protection of their human rights”. Yet recent research by a handful of academics and journalists has meticulously documented the construction of a vast network of “collective re-education centres” across Xinjiang.

Anyone engaging in “abnormal behaviour” or exhibiting “symptoms” of radicalisation or political disloyalty can find themselves incarcerated. These “signs” include refusing to drink or smoke in public, wearing a veil, praying outside a mosque, or even wearing a watch on the right wrist. Internment quotas mean many ordinary citizens are now being held indefinitely against their will, and in some cases their families are forced to pay for their detention.

Using open-source procurement and construction bids, German scholar Adrian Zenz estimates that the Chinese Government has already spent more than US$100 million building these walled, barbwire compounds, and that more than 10% of the adult Muslim population of Xinjiang has been locked away.

Law student Shawn Zhang is using satellite imagery to visually document the rapid assembly of these camps, including one, outside the regional capital of Urumqi, that is the size of five aircraft carriers and likely houses ten thousand or more detainees.

We now have a handful of accounts about life inside Xinjiang’s secretive gulag, where detainees are subjected to around-the-clock political indoctrination and forced to denounce their culture and religion. Omir Bekali was detained without a legal warrant and held for eight months in a squalid, overcrowded camp in Karamay. After his release, he told AP News that he was placed in solitary confinement, physically tortured, and deprived food.

Uyghur student at an American university was forcefully removed from a plane in Shanghai when he tried to visit his parents over the summer holiday. He was blindfolded and transported thousands of kilometres to an internment camp in Xinjiang, where he was held in a tiny cell with 19 other inmates under the constant glow of a single light bulb and subjected to continual brainwashing. He was one of the lucky ones, released after 17 days and allowed to return to the US to resume his studies.

This systematic cultural cleansing is what Professor James Millward, one of world’s leading experts on Xinjiang, calls “Beijing’s attempt to find a final solution to the Xinjiang problem”.

These actions violate not only Chinese law but also international norms against the extrajudicial deprivation of liberty. Article 37 of the Chinese Constitution and Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for example, explicitly forbid any form of arbitrary detention.

In response, the Canadian and US governments have publicly censured Beijing, while the commission monitoring China’s human rights record for the US Congress has labelled these “political education camps” as “the largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today”.

The Australian Government, in sharp contrast, has said nothing publicly. This, despite the fact that many Australian citizens of Uyghur ethnicity have relatives in arbitrary detention in Xinjiang, including Adelaide resident Almas Nizamidin whose newly pregnant wife, Bizainafu Abudourexit, was detained without charge in Xinjiang and disappeared before she could join him in Australia. 

Over the past thirty years, both sides of politics in Australia have preferred to raise human rights issues behind closed doors, arguing that “non-confrontational, cooperative dialogue is the most effective way to address the human rights situation in other countries”. Yet these bilateral efforts to engage China on its own terms have failed to produce any concrete results.

In 2015 the Chinese Government made a unilateral decision to walk away from these annual, high-level human rights meetings, leaving Australia with fewer diplomatic options for altering China’s repressive behaviour at home. 

If Australia is unwilling to publicly name and shame Beijing, it has little hope of changing China’s behaviour. The failure to speak out not only sanitises the actions of an abusive regime, but also contributes to China’s efforts to redefine international human rights standards.

The Turnbull government has warned against the dangers of a “coercive China” and the Chinese Communist Party’s interference in Australian politics and national life, but has said little about the systematic abuses occurring inside China itself. The CCP’s autocratic, bullying culture begins at home, with Human Rights Watch, among other global NGOs, documenting “the broad and sustained offensive on human rights” since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.

This week Australia has a perfect opportunity to openly condemn the transgressions in Xinjiang at the UN Human Rights Council. Australia lobbied hard to secure a seat on the council, promising a “pragmatic and principled approach” to its membership. We should now join other countries in deploring the oppression in Xinjiang and call for an independent international commission of inquiry to document what is happening inside these concentration camps and how they violate Chinese and international law.

China and its client states will inevitably block such a recommendation. But a principled approach to our engagement with China requires a firm moral compass. Future generations will judge Australia on whether it speaks out or turns a blind eye to the incarceration and forced domestication of Xinjiang’s Muslim population.T19 June 2018

15:00 AEDTime to denounce China’s Time to denounce China’s Muslim gulagMuslim gulhttps://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/time-denounce-china-muslim-gulagag

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Beijing uses infrastructure as friendly forerunner of political powerDo you see a pattern here?

The Chinese Communist Party built a road into Tibet and the Tibetans were excited - it was their first highway: "We were promised peace and prosperity with the highway, and our parents and grandparents joined in building the road," as the president of Tibet's government in exile, Lobsang Sangay, tells the story."In fact, they were paid silver coins to help them build the road. So there was a popular song during those days, it goes like this: Chinese are like our parents; when they come, they shower you with silver coins," the Harvard-educated lawyer recounted at the National Press Club in Canberra last year.

The Chinese soldiers were patient with the local kids and bore their taunts with smiles, he said.

"Then they built the road. Once the road reached Lhasa – the capital city of Tibet – first trucks came, then guns came, then tanks came. Soon, Tibet was occupied. So it started with the road."Beijing maintains that Tibet was peacefully liberated and developed."But this is the definition of peace - nearly 1 million people have died under various forms," says Sangay. "They've died of famine, they've died in prison, they've died in labour camps."

The cultural and religious purge of Tibetan Buddhism is well known. The Chinese authorities razed more than 90 per cent of monasteries and convents.

The Chinese Communist Party built roads into Xinjiang, the Muslim-majority lands just to the north of Tibet. "When the Chinese people first went to Xinjiang, we all thought, what nice people," says the voice of the ethnic Uighur people's independence movement in the region, Rebiya Kadeer.

"We treated them nicely, we expected some investment and development," she tells me. "Initially they said 'we will help you with development but you will rule over the land," says Kadeer, once one of the richest women in China and a member of China's National People's Congress, now living in exile in the US.

"Only three per cent of the people in Xinjiang were Chinese," ethnic Han speaking Mandarin Chinese, distinct from the Turkic-speaking Uighur who make up the biggest ethnic group in what is now a province of China.

The Beijing government operates a transmigration policy in Tibet and Xinjiang, relocating Han people from the south to change the ethnic and political composition. The percentage of Han Chinese is now about 40 per cent in Xinjiang.They increased and and increased and now they are killing us," says Kadeer. The Chinese Communist Party has built a network of re-education camps for the Uighurs. Kadeer calls them concentration camps where people are detained indefinitely without due process.

In the biggest Uighur city, Kashgar, 120,000 people were held in the camps in 2017 according to a local security chief, or about one in four of the entire population. Maya Wang of Human Rights Watch estimates the total across Xinjiang to be as many as 800,000 people.

The Economist magazine's headline on a piece about China's gulags in Xinjiang read: "Apartheid with Chinese characteristics."

These are both cases where China has a historical claim, dating back over centuries, for asserting sovereign ownership. Both involve lands adjoining China's heartland.

These are cases of China consolidating power on its periphery. They are not stories of the Chinese Communist Party conquering foreign nation states.

But they are, nonetheless, instructive tales of how Beijing has used infrastructure as the friendly forerunner of political power.President Xi Jinping portrays the Belt and Road initiative as China's generous gift to humankind. Its breathtakingly ambitious scope is offered as a pathway to shared prosperity and harmony, a "community of common destiny".

But it is also a strategic initiative. A general in the Peoples Liberation Army Air Force, Qiao Liang, in 2015 described it as "truly the strategy of the shrewd". A military theorist, he explained that "if you tell people, 'I come with political and ideological intentions', who will accept you?"

It's an infrastructure plan with an underlying strategic intention: "Pulled ever more closely into China's economic orbit," sums up Nadege Rolland of America's non-profit research agency National Bureau of Asian Research, countries embraced by the belt and road "will find it increasingly difficult to stand up to Beijing.

"As China gains political influence over its neighbourhood, it will be able to push back against US dominance and reclaim its own regional strategic space," she concludes in her book "China's Eurasian Century".

Of course, the Chinese Communist Party is not the first power to conceive of a network of dual-use infrastructure. The ancient Romans built 80,000 km of paved road, straight and durable, to allow rapid movement of troops to extend and maintain empire, but also to allow efficient commerce.

The Roman road system was so powerful and its commercial benefits so enduring that, even today, it delivers economic benefit. Four Nordic scholars this year mapped ancient Roman road routes onto today's nighttime light intensity and found that the evidence shows the Roman road network as "playing an important role in the persistence of subsequent development". Right up to now, millennia later.

So what's so terrible if the Chinese Communist Party creates a modern equivalent? They may have strategic motives, but the economic benefits for many millions of people across dozens of countries could be transformative and enduring.Unfortunately, the political costs could be high. Of the 68 countries signed up to date, 33 are ranked as below investment grade by the world's rating agencies. So they're not very creditworthy but China is cheerfully lending them billions they may not be able to pay back.

Already, in this very early phase of Belt and Road, new Chinese lending is exposing eight countries to risk of financial distress, according to a report by the Centre for Global Development, a US-based non-profit think tank.

And if they can't make their repayments? When Sri Lanka asked to renegotiate its $US8 billion debt to China for the Hambantota Port project last year, Beijing converted its debt into ownership equity and a 99-year management lease on the port.

Debt is another way of spelling obligation. The Chinese Communist Party has a history of using infrastructure as a Trojan Horse for domination.

Belt and Road, unless approached with care, could end up being another way of spelling bought and sold, with Chinese characteristics.

Peter Hartcher is international editor.

By Peter Hartcher
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Isaac soloman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 9:25am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Isaac soloman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 9:34am

What does it mean for Australia?

The big question for Australia, which has benefited from strong Chinese investment over the past decade, is whether it will miss out if Beijing begins increasingly guiding investment towards BRI countries, its new foreign policy priority.

According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, from January to April this year, the import and export value of goods trade between China and BRI countries was $US389.1 billion, up 19.2 per cent compared to last year.

Direct investment increased by 17 per cent and project contracts soared by 28 per cent.

Sun thinks there is little chance Australia will miss out, even if the Turnbull government doesn't formally sign on to the BRI.

“Practically, Australia is still a top destination for outbound investment,” she says.

“It is a stable country, which is attractive to Chinese investors ... In Africa, it is easier [for a major infrastructure project] to get government financing if the country is BRI perhaps, but in Australia, the project may not need government funds because it can more easily access international financing.”

Li agrees: “A country which has a stable government like Australia, which is resource rich, has a reliable legal system and good access to private financing, is therefore more attractive to Chinese companies.”

https://static.ffx.io/images/$width_1600%2C$height_901/t_crop_auto/t_sharpen%2Cq_auto%2Cf_auto/184773510bf21176361dd53b6f7892ab4b884af0" style="box-sizing: inherit;">https://static.ffx.io/images/$width_1536%2C$height_865/t_crop_auto/t_sharpen%2Cq_auto%2Cf_auto/184773510bf21176361dd53b6f7892ab4b884af0" style="box-sizing: inherit;">
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Passing Through Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 9:44am
What do you think it means for Australia Isaac?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Isaac soloman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 10:11am
go back and read the thread.

you arnt that obtuse pt....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Isaac soloman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 10:13am

China sets its sights on Tasmania with controversial $100m development plan

CHINESE tourists are flocking to this surprising Aussie state in record numbers. But an ambitious $100 million plan has sparked a local backlash.

news.com.auJUNE 22, 20188:19A
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Isaac soloman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 10:16am
"But by now, concerns were being aired in the West about the motives for the big project and the billions in cheap loans on offer. Was it simply a way for China to export its overcapacity of steel and concrete and avoid huge layoffs at state-owned Chinese construction companies by finding new places for them to keep building stuff?"

The city where a trillion-dollar plan to dominate global trade began

Welcome to Chongqing, the heart of China’s dream to reshape the world. Next stop, Europe.

By Kirsty Needham

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Isaac soloman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 11:07am
oh dear pt, what to do with the live animal export trade, especially when it affects trade with china. confliction, confliction, conflition. 

I know wa's usually forthright labor ag minister, alanah Mctiernan, has gone blubberyLOL

Deaths mar China cattle trade

Jenne Brammer and Nick EvansThe West Australian

WestBusiness can reveal 46 cattle died on a recent voyage to China, triggering the threshold for mandatory public disclosure to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Harmony Agriculture and Food Company subsidiary Phoenix Exports sent 3180 cattle from Fremantle on June 1, bound for Lianyungang in northern China. Harmony chief executive Steve Meerwald said the deaths were still being investigated by DAWR, but he believed it was likely to be down to respiratory-related issues.

“This is our third shipment of the same, or similar grain-fed Angus cattle, prepared in a similar way, but previous shipments had very low mortalities,” he said.

Mr Meerwald said the cold front that passed over WA late last month caused a significant drop in temperature just before loading, which could have made the cattle vulnerable to respiratory conditions and lowered their resilience to rising temperatures as the vessel approached warmer waters.

“We started losing low numbers early in the voyage, we contacted the DAWR and told them of our concerns,” he said.

“Deaths spiked when the ship was near the equator, there were 12 lost on one day.”

All pre-export conditions had been met and an Australian accredited vet and accredited stockmen were aboard the independently chartered vessel, Mr Meerwald said. Exporters are required to report any voyages on which more than one per cent of cattle die on board.

Mr Meerwald said Harmony was working with DAWR to investigate the circumstances.

“We are terribly disappointed at the outcome,” Mr Meerwald said. “But it’s not through neglect or irresponsible behaviour. This signals further respiratory work needs to be done when taking cattle from southern Australia across the equator.

“We hope to get a credible insight into what caused the issues and determine how to better manage future shipments.”

He said Harmony had recommended to industry the adoption of the heat stress risk assessment model, adopted for the Middle East, be implemented on all shipments.

The news comes amid debate in Canberra about the future of the live sheep trade. Labor introduced a Bill to reinstate the position of the inspector general of animal welfare and the Senate debated a Bill to ban the trade in the northern summer months. Neither Bill went to a vote.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Isaac soloman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 11:12am
oh and by the way, guess who the biggest live animal exporters to china are? none other than the iron ore moguls, gina and twiggy.

noo wonder they are all the way with china. have too look after the hand that feeds you, or  maybe makes you the richest people n aus.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Passing Through Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 11:22am
Originally posted by Isaac soloman Isaac soloman wrote:

go back and read the thread.

you arnt that obtuse pt....

Can I use that when I get a stupid question?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stayer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 6:37pm
Ok I think I finally get what you 2 are butting heads about.
"She's going through a growth phase." - GW
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Isaac soloman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 9:10pm

The story China went to furious lengths to stop from airing

CHINA’S Canberra embassy issued a fierce threat over a story on one of the rising superpower’s controversial policies. Here’s what really happened.

Gavin Fernando and Charis Chang
news.com.auJUNE 22, 20188:51PMIVE days before 60 Minutes aired a program about China’s quest for global dominance, the team received a furious phone call.

“Take this down and take it to your leaders!” the voice on the other end was yelling.

On the line was Ms Saxian Cao, the Head of Media Affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Canberra, and she was laying into the program’s Executive Producer Kirsty Thomson.

“You will listen! There must be no more misconduct in the future!” Ms Cao reportedly shouted into the phone.

According to Nine News, Ms Cao accused the network of filming the exteriors of the Chinese Embassy in Vanuatu illegally — a claim Ms Thomson refuted.

Ms Cao also claimed a drone was used to fly over the embassy in a potential safety hazard, which was also disputed.

The report claimed the phone did not end amicably, with Ms Cao shouting: “You will not use that footage!”

It highlighted the lengths to which the Chinese government will go to silence voices it doesn’t agree with — even within Australia, amid an ongoing national debate over foreign interference laws.

The offending 60 Minutes episode — which aired earlier this week — covered the ongoing issue of Chinese encroachment in the Pacific, including the country’s Belt and Road Initiative, a Chinese-built wharf in Vanuatu, and the wider issue of foreign interference in Australia.


So what was the Chinese Communist Party so keen to hide?

CHINA’S RISING INFLUENCE IN THE PACIFIC

Papua New Guinea will soon be the second country in the Pacific to sign on to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

“When in China, we’ll be signing the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative,” PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said earlier this week, according to local media.

“That is a great potential for Papua New Guinea, which means that this will help integrate our own economy to the global economy … The rest of the world is making business with China and we cannot simply sit back and allow these opportunities to go by.”

The PNG leader is currently in Beijing for a week-long visit.

The move will no doubt raise alarm bells in Canberra, with fears China is increasing its presence in the Pacific region.

In April, Fairfax Media reported Beijing was negotiating a military base less than 2000 kilometres from our border.

China and Vanuatu have both denied the report, which claimed Beijing was eyeing a military base in the island nation, with global ramifications.

“No one in the Vanuatu government has ever talked about a Chinese military base in Vanuatu of any sort,” Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu said. “We are a non-aligned country. We are not interested in militarisation.”

The move prompted fears in Australia over Beijing’s aims for greater military influence in the South Pacific region.But Beijing’s economic influence in Vanuatu remains undeniable, with China responsible for almost half of the island nation’s foreign debt.

In places like Sri Lanka and the African nation of Djibouti, China has been granted control over ports after the countries defaulted on massive loans taken out to build the ambitious projects.

There are now fears the same pattern will play out in Vanuatu where China has loaned the country $114 million to build a wharf at Luganville — the site of America’s second largest base in the Pacific during World War II.

CHINA’S DEBT-TRAP STRATEGY

China’s debt-trap game goes something like this: they offer the honey of cheap infrastructure loans, then attack with default when these poorer economies aren’t able to pay their interest down.

At the heart of this sits the Belt and Road Initiative, a trillion-dollar project that seeks to connect countries across continents on trade, with China at its centre.

The ambitious plan involves creating a 6000km sea route connecting China to South East Asia, Oceania and North Africa (the “Road”), as well as through building railway and road infrastructure to connect China with Central and West Asia, the Middle East and Europe (the “Belt”).n a previous interview with news.com.au, Dr Malcolm Davis, senior analyst in defence strategy and capability at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said China is mainly targeting poorer countries and employing a “debt-trap strategy”.

He said the trillion-dollar project basically forces other countries to align themselves with it.

“It gets countries — particularly poorer countries — hooked on debts they can’t pay back,” he said. “When they can’t pay it back, China basically grabs ports, facilities or territory. It’s a debt-trap strategy.

“It services their need in terms of accessing resources, sustaining contacts and national development, and maintaining that ‘China Dream’. It’s really vital for the Communist Party to maintain prosperity if they want to maintain power.”

WHY THE PACIFIC IS CRUCIAL

Why is the Pacific so important to China? From the rising superpower’s perspective, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Fiji are the most crucial, as they have the most minerals and natural resources.

But while the strategic aspects of China’s interest in the region have been highlighted recently, experts believe they have been over-hyped.

“I don’t think (the region) is enormously important to China,” Australian National University’s Development Policy Centre deputy director Matthew Dornan told news.com.au.

“The amounts of aid they provide are still not huge. Australia provides a lot more.”

According to the Lowy Institute, China spent $2.2 million on 218 projects in the Pacific between 2006 and 2016. This is a lot less than the $10 million Australia contributed.contributed.

“I don’t think the Pacific tops its list in terms of strategic importance, even if it does for Australia,” Dr Dornan said.While the Pacific may not be high on China’s agenda, Australia appears to have woken up to the importance of the region to its own interests.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop recently returned from a bipartisan trip to some Pacific nations with Labor shadow minister Penny Wong. They visited Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.

Ms Bishop has denied that the trip was aimed at countering Chinese influence but in an interview with Fairfax Media, acknowledged that China’s construction of roads, ports, airports and other infrastructure in the region had triggered concern that small Pacific nations may be saddled with unsustainable debts.

“We want to be the natural partner of choice,” Ms Bishop told Fairfax earlier this week.

“We want to ensure that they retain their sovereignty, that they have sustainable economies and that they are not trapped into unsustainable debt outcomes.

“The trap can then be a debt-for-equity swap and they have lost their sovereignty.”

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stayer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 10:28pm
Ok, again, I'm not sure what either of you is arguing about. Is it money or morality?
"She's going through a growth phase." - GW
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Isaac soloman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 hours 14 minutes ago at 9:34am
Common Sense isn’t Common
1 WEEK AGO
"The Chinese are playing the long game. Their plan is to own the whole world and to do it without major military actions. The new Chinese economics are the weapon. Sell the west ANYTHING for ANY price (usually crap quality consumer goods they can sell you multiple times). It doesnt matter so long as they get the hard currency and use that to buy goods with good solid long term value, like land, mining rights and infrastructure. Repeat until world is fully owned."

How succinct
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